CRiSS – Contemporary Research in Social Sciences

CRiSS is a recurring lecture series organised by the Faculty 02: Social Sciences, Media and Sports of Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz. Members from all of the faculty's disciplines - Communication Science, Educational Science, Political Science, Psychology, School Studies, Sociology, and Sports Science - present their current research projects. The talks are held in English to also enable international exchange - with international students, visiting researchers as well as guests from our FORTHEM and RMU partners.

Everybody is welcome!

In 2021, CRiSS will again provides insight into a colourful mix of research topics such as UFO sightings, gender identities, right-wing extremism, paedophilia, FC Bayern Munich, Covid 19 and more. (For more details, see programme below).

Lecture series: Wednesdays 6-8pm, 2 ECTS


Open to students and researchers of our RMU and FORTHEM partners:

We are pleased to make use of the new digital format and especially invite students and researchers from our partner universities to join the talks and enter into a new level of academic exchange.


CRiSS plus Tutorial for exchange students:

Exchange students have the opportunity to achieve 5 (graded) ECTS by registering for CRiSS plus Tutorial. Participants attend both the lecture series and an accompanying tutorial. Here, they train their academic skills to identify, interpret, and comment on essential content of scientific lectures from other disciplines.

CRiSS Plus Tutorial: Wednesdays 4-6pm (tutorial) and 6-8 pm (lecture), 5 ECTS (graded)


Access and registration:

JGU and RMU students: Please register via JOGU-StINe:
Course catalogue --> Summer Semester 2020 --> Faculty 02 --> Interdisciplinary Courses. (If you cannot register within any regular module of your study programme, usually within the modul "Zusatzqualifikationen", you can always register via "Studium Generale".)

Exchange students: Please add the course (either CRiSS or CRiSS plus Tutorial) to the course registration formular for exchange students and contact your "coordinator" for admission.

External guests: To receive the access data for the individual online talks, please send an e-mail to including your name and the title of the talk(s) you wish to attend.



14.04.21 Psychology Miriam Schilbach

Does work make us stronger? - How work may contribute to employee resilience

When experiencing adverse and highly stressful events psychological, resilience helps us to recover and maintain health as well as performance levels. Mirjam Schillbach will provide an insight on how experiences at work facilitate (or inhibit) the development of individual resilience.

Learn more about Miriam Schilbach


21.04.21 Sports Science Fabio Wagner

Boring Bundesliga (?) bothered by Bayern Munich

It is increasingly questioned whether the dominance of FC Bayern Munich in the German Bundesliga (especially in the last decade) has had a negative impact on the attractiveness of the football league. Fabio Wagner attempts to get to the bottom of this question and presents a novel model of measuring competitive intensity in sports leagues.

Learn more about Fabio Wagner


28.04.21 Communication Science Simon Kruschinski

Hacking the Electorate?! Mapping the use and effects of data-driven campaigning in Germany

Political parties increasingly use data-based decision making in electoral campaigning since the turn of the 21st century. This data-driven campaigning (DDC) draws on digital technology, data, and analytics to identify persuadable and mobilizable voters and target them with tailor-made messages via direct online (e.g. via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Ads) or offline channels (e.g. via direct mailing, door-to-door canvassing). Especially in Europe, political campaigns´ use of data sparks controversial public and scholarly debates. In his talk, Simon Kruschinski takes this debate further and discusss DDC´s reasons, modes and power, the surveillance of the electorate by political actors or digital companies in Germany, its implications for democracy and approaches for regulation. In this manner, students will learn and exchange ideas how political actors use technology, data and algorithms to inform, mobilize or persuade citizens by drawing on a variety of studies about DDC in German federal and state elections and by reflecting on their own experiences.

Learn more about Simon Kruschinski


05.05.21 Political Science Elia Scaramuzza

Identity as Problem or Solution? Gender-Reflexive Approaches to Civic Education

As gender identities have become increasingly diverse over the past few years, Civic Education is challenged to develop educational resources and formats that address the pluralization of gender. Yet the question is: how? Oftentimes, issues of gender identity are discussed in a binary matter: identity is either solution or problem, seldomly both, leading to oversimplified answers to complex problems. In contrast to this, Elia Scaramuzza introduces a different, non-binary approach on how to deal with gender identity in Civic Education that is characterized as so-called gender reflexivity.

Learn more about Elia Scaramuzza


12.05.21 Sociology Robert Mitchell

Moving Sociology. An Autoethnography of Ballet and Taijiquan Practice

Is it possible to utilise one's own biography of moving in the fields of ballet and taiji for the purposes of sociological research? Is such incorporated proximity a resource, as, e.g., ethnomethodology or autoethnography would predict, or more of an obstacle, as critics of the above approaches would suppose? In his talk, Robert Mitchell will tell the 'story of his study,' detailing its background, its methods and findings, ultimately reaching a conclusion on areas where this study was successful and where less so. Also, the talk will offer insight into ballet and taiji practice.

Learn more about Robert Mitchell


19.05.21 Sports Science Barlo Hillen

The Dawning of Exercise Radiomics

Infrared thermography is an upcoming technology in sport science due to recent advancements in camera lenses, detector technique and data processing capabilities. Barlo Hillen presents his innovative exercise radiomics approach, which fundamentally is defined as the combination of infrared thermography during physical exercise, automatic pattern recognition, and exercise physiology. In this lecture, you get to see the observed temperature patterns and learn more about what is happening in the body’s core and shell when you perform your workout.

Learn more about Barlo Hillen


26.05.21 Educational Science Shmuel Porat

Did you ever feel sorry for a hero?

DisAbled: Shmuel Porat presents his research on the situation in institutions for people with disabilities and its influence on their self-perception. Is there anybody at all who is not disabled? Shmuel invites the audience to a discussion on the meaning of disabled and what being disabled means.

Learn more about Shmuel Porat


02.06.21 Communication Science Dr. Michael Sülflow

Media and COVID-19: Prevalence and Effects of the “Infodemic”

The COVID-19 pandemic does not only come with negative effects for the physical health of a society but also poses challenges for the availability and use of information. The WHO coined the term “infodemic” which refers to the overabundance of information and the increase of disinformation during the current crisis. In his presentation, Michael Sülflow outlines the characteristics of the information landscape in times of the pandemic and discusses effects, for instance for false beliefs, attitudes or trust in politics and media.

Learn more about Dr. Michael Sülflow


09.06.21 Psychology Dr. Alexander Schmidt

Stigmatization of Sexual Interests in Children

It is a common misperception that sexual interests in children (i.e., pedophilia) are necessarily linked to committing child sexual abuse. Nevertheless, lay people show substantially negative attitudes towards individuals with these sexual inclinations. Research shows that pedophilia is among the most stigmatized psychological disorders. Alexander Schmidt introduces research findings on the nascent topic of stigmatization of pedophilic interests and how this is experienced from the perspectives of lay people, psychotherapists, and individuals with pedophilic sexual interests (or minor-attracted persons [MAPs] as they frequently label themselves). How willing are professionals to work therapeutically with treatment–seeking MAPs and what are therapists’ perceptions of MAPs’ therapeutic needs as compared to the reasons why MAPs are seeking therapeutic help? It will be discussed how stigmatization of MAPs is linked to risk factors for committing child sexual abuse and how it might be possible to decrease the risk of victimization for children.

Learn more about Dr. Alexander Schmidt


16.06.21 Political Science René Selbach

Unpopular Populism: Negative Orientations towards Populist Radical Right Parties

Previous electoral research on populist radical right parties has dealt with the question of who votes for these parties. The electorate of these parties is relatively homogeneous, at least in terms of their political attitudes. A completely different picture emerges, however, when taking a closer look at reasons for not supporting these parties. René Selbach analyses the factors which lead to a negative orientation towards populist radical right parties. In his talk, he further examines to what extent the strength of the factors varies among different subgroups of the electorate.

Learn more about René Selbach


23.06.21 Sociology Nico Sonntag

The Truth is Out There: Explaining Regional Differences in UFO Sightings, 1997-2014

UFO sightings have been a pervasive cultural phenomenon for the last decades. Which factors drive people to perceive and report UFOs? Using data from the National UFO Reporting Center on US UFO-sightings, Nico Sonntag and and his colleague Stella Marčeta tested a diverse set of hypotheses pertaining to drug abuse, psychological illness, economic interests, and religious attitudes to explain regional differences in UFO reporting.

Learn more about Nico Sonntag


30.06.21 School Studies Joshua Hausen

Schools in times of change - a 40 year journey

Schools in times of change (SchiWa) is a preliminary study for a larger-scale mixed-method study of the systematic, historical assessment of changes in the German school system. How have schools, teaching practices, and the attitude and education of teachers changed over the last forty years? What useful information can we gather from this comparison? Joshua Hausen describes and illustrates the research process from the initial starting point and first conceptualization of the project to the pre-study and up to the submission of the application for the main study.

Learn more about Joshua Hausen


07.07.21 School Studies Nadine Baston

"Teachers are also only human" How prospective teachers think about school

Everyone knows how school works. After all, we have all attended school for many years. But what do prospective teachers think about pupils, their own role as future teachers and how education works in general? And what does this have to do with authority, discipline, rules and rituals in the classroom? Nadine Baston provides insights into recent findings from group discussion-based research that illuminates the structure of prospective teachers' beliefs about classroom management and their relevance to their future professional behaviour.

Learn more about Nadine Baston


14.07.21 Educational Science Dr. Petra Bauer

Design Thinking: How students (re)design their life

In life, there are moments when you have to reorient yourself, especially during the transition to work when you finished your studies at university. Against this background, the course concept "Life and Vision" was developed and implemented in multiple courses at university. The seminars help students rethinking their perspective on life, possibly creating new patterns of thought and designing an idea for their individual (professional) future. In her CRiSS lecture, Petra Bauer introduces the idea and methods of the course and invites the audience to test some of the methods themselves. In addition, she shares the results of a course-related study and shows how the course has improved based on student evaluations.

Learn more about Dr. Petra Bauer




CRiSS-Programme 2019

CRiSS-Programme 2018

CRiSS-Programme 2017